CLARKSBORO, N.J. — The removal of vinyl chloride from the breached rail car at the derailment in Paulsboro continues Wednesday.
Pumping operations resumed at approximately 11:15 a.m. The breached rail car will be filled with acetone to mix with the vinyl chloride to make the product safe and easier to remove.
“We are working as safely and quickly as possible to move through the progression of this cleanup and get the Paulsboro community back to normal,” said Capt. Kathy Moore, the Coast Guard incident commander. “More than 200 technical experts and responders are working on the incident and we’re assembling the specialized equipment and resources we need to complete operations.”
Divers inspected a derailed car containing ethanol Tuesday and found no damage of concern.
A 150 ton crane is in a staging area near the mouth of the Mantua Creek. This crane will be used in the next phases of operations.
Ongoing air monitoring operations throughout Paulsboro is continuing with eight fixed units, two mobile teams from the Environmental Protection Agency, and one mobile team from the Department of Environmental Protection.
“Unified Command has established a health-protective, incident-specific threshold for vinyl chloride levels, and the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH) is working with EPA and Department of Environmental Protection experts to continually monitor air quality at multiple locations,” said Dr. John Kind, director of toxicology, CTEH. “The highest concentrations of vinyl chloride we have detected in the community are hundreds of times lower than the concentrations that would produce symptoms from the short-term exposures that could occur here.”
Paulsboro Fire Department has the state-of-the-art Neptune fire suppression system on site and ready for operations, with 8,000 gallons of aqueous film-forming form (or A-Triple-F) to eliminate or reduce the risk of combustion during the eventual rail car removal process.
The Unified Command will hold an open house from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Nehaunsey Middle School, 415 Swedesboro Rd., in nearby Gibbstown. Experts will be on hand to answer questions regarding air monitoring, public health, environmental information, community assistance, community protection and general questions.
A public assistance center for those impacted by the derailment is located at St. Michael’s Mutual Club at 406 Memorial Avenue in Gibbstown. This center is open all day Wednesday and then 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Conrail will ensure an assistance center is available for the duration of the incident. The Red Cross and Conrail are providing assistance and helping evacuees with lodging and other needs.
In addition to resources provided through the assistance center, anyone who has been impacted by the derailment can call the 24-hour community assistance hotline at 1-800-230-7049 for help.